Farmers/herders clashes unacceptable -Tor Tiv | Dailytrust

Farmers/herders clashes unacceptable -Tor Tiv

The Tor Tiv V, Professor James Ayatse
The Tor Tiv V, Professor James Ayatse

The Tor Tiv, Prof. James Iorzua Ayatse, has said the protracted clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Benue State was orchestrated to take over lands of the indigenes.

Prof. Ayatse, who is also the Chairman of the Benue State Council of Chiefs, said this on Tuesday in Abuja on Tuesday at the sideline of the ‘Mediation and Negotiation Training Workshop for Benue State Traditional Rulers’ organized by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) and other partners.

According to him, contrary to insinuations, there are still reported cases of attack on farmers by herders in the state.

The training was attended by first class and second-class traditional rulers and was part of measures to ensure peace in the state among all segments, using the traditional rulers.

“Herders and farmers have been the major source of conflict in Benue State. For a farmer, who may have used a whole year to nurture his crops and you come and destroy it, that means you have brought his life to crisis. And then he tries to do everything to preserve the source of his livelihoods.

“And because there is a change in strategy of the herders. In olden days, they only move about with sticks and if they destroy any crops there were very apologetic about it. They would meet with the elders and reconcile and if they are payment to be made that would be done and everyone moves on.

“But now, they don’t bring sticks, they bring guns and modern ammunition and begin to terrorize farmers that are unharmed.

“They kill our farmers, maim them and destroy their crops rendering the poor farmer poorer. This is the genesis of the crisis. It is not that farmers are against herders. We live together without any crisis but it is because in the change in the approach of the herders,” he said.

The traditional ruler said that though the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law enacted by Governor Samuel Ortom has limited the uncontrolled wandering of herders, the indigenes were still living in fear due to attacks, especially at the borders.

He said, “The killing is still going on especially at the border towns at the boundary of Benue with other states especially at the northern flank. Herders stealing, killing destroy and rape. They come at night to attack the farmers unaware.

“If they are really grazing, they won’t come in the night to attack people in their houses. It is like they are not just looking for the grass to eat they also want to take over the land. I think the strategy has change in violence confrontation and annexation of the people’s land.

Also speaking, the country manager of Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Dr. Chris Agoba stressed the role of traditional rulers in resolving conflicts, especially in Benue State.

He said that the institution has remained a mythical factor in the lives of people.

He also said that the training would ensure that the monarchs are eminently qualified to prevent, mitigate and resolve local level conflicts and for societal development.

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